Among the mansions and parks of South Drexel Boulevard sits Reavis Elementary School, a small, two-story brick box whose 1950s pedigree is at odds with the architectural and historical splendor surrounding it.
Unlike many other underperforming Chicago public schools, Reavis, at 834 E. 50th St., lacks even the faded beauty that would suggest it was once a beacon of hope for students. Neighborhood students that could migrated to better Hyde Park schools, leaving Reavis struggling to educate youngsters for whom it was a place of last resort.
And for years, by CPS standards, it did a poor job. Reavis was consistently rated a level 3 school based on test scores, student gains, attendance, etc. That’s the bottom of the barrel and damaged its ability to attract motivated students, good teachers and additional resources.
Reavis Elementary Students
Motivated by new leadership at the school, Quad Communities Development Corporation and LISC Chicago selected Reavis seven years ago as one of five schools for the Elev8 program, an ambitious effort funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies to bolster out-of-school time activities, parental involvement and health programs, including the construction of health centers in each of the schools – all intended to better prepare students for life in high school and beyond. Reavis was the runt of the Elev8 litter – the smallest, the poorest, the most challenged.
But like a lot of runts, it had spunk. Once through the chain link fence and windowless doors, the place possessed an energy manifested by colorful artwork, curious students and energetic young teachers. Every school, like every block, gives off a certain vibe – an intangible message about its worth that isn’t related to discernible metrics. It’s something one feels, and Reavis, for whatever reason, always felt pretty good.
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- Posted by QCDC
- On March 19, 2015
- 2 Comments